Bears’ Playoff Push Starts Sunday vs Cardinals


Lovie Smith likes to break the season up into quarters.  16 games, 4 quarters, 4 games per quarter.  Nice and neat.  The 2nd quarter and first half of the Bears season officially ends after Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, but it’s time to blur Lovie’s lines and start the 2009 playoff push on Sunday before the 2nd quarter ends.  The Bears have been a 2nd half team this year, but they can’t wait for the 2nd half of the season to start to get it going.

The Bears’ next 4 opponents are all in the playoff picture.  The course for the season will be set by the time the calendar hits December.  If the Bears can’t get through this next stretch at least 2-2, start booking your January tee times gang.  Let’s take a look at this critical stretch:

Cardinals 4-3

Kurt Warner brings the high-flying aerial attack of the defending NFC champs to town.  The Cards come to town after a discouraging home loss to the underachieving Carolina Panthers squad.  The Cards have been nearly as erratic as the Bears this season.  This is exactly the kind of game the Bears have to win.  We’ll take a closer look at how they’re supposed to go about doing that, but for now, let’s just say we need this one. 

@ San Francisco 3-4

The schedule makers didn’t do the Bears any favors.  They send the Bears off to the west coast on a short week.  They face former Bears legend Mike Singletary to kick off the NFL Network’s Thursday night games.   You think Samurai Mike will have his troops fired up for this one?  A national audience versus his former team?  This was going to be a tough game even without the short week.  The Niners’ defense has played well and Frank Gore is an absolute beast.

Philadelphia 5-2

The flip side to the short week traveling to the west coast is a little extra rest in advance of a Sunday night tilt against Donovan McNabb and the Eagles and they’ll need it.  The Eagles are flying high as their offense seems to be firing on all cylinders with the Eagles perched atop the challenging NFC East.  DeSean Jackson is emerging as a big play threat that could leave the Bears’ defense struggling to find answers.

@ Minnesota 7-1

Brett Favre has the Vikings sitting pretty.  This guy will haunt the Bears long after he’s dead and buried.  His latest un-retirement brings him back to the division to lead the defending NFC North champs to an impressive 7-1 record.  The best thing that Bear fans could hope for is that Favre, Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen all break their legs in the next 3 weeks, because if they don’t, it could be a rough day at the office.

Outside of these games, the Bears get St. Louis,  Green Bay and Minnesota at home, with road dates with Baltimore and Detroit on the road to close out the 2009 campaign.  How many of these can you book for wins?

Losing the tie-breaker to Atlanta puts added pressure to get to at least 10 wins.  I see two more gimmes and a bunch of maybes.  It’s time to convert those ‘maybes’ into a W and it starts on Sunday.